No deal reached for a Russian loan to Egypt: Trade minister

Ahram Online, Reuters, Friday 19 Apr 2013

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi fails to reach an agreement over a loan from Russia on his two-day visit, discusses constructing a nuclear power plant with Russian energy minister

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Mursi attend a news conference after talks in Sochi, April 19, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's trade and industry minister Hatem Saleh said on Friday that no agreement has been reached on a Russian loan to Egypt.

Speaking after a meeting between Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Saleh said "today we have reached no conclusion on that loan."

Earlier on Friday, Yuri Ushakov, assistant of Russian leader, revealed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi had requested a large loan during his meeting with President Putin.

"We are not talking about a small amount here," reaffirmed Ushakov, abstaining from revealing further information.

A Moscow-based source said previously that Egypt had planned to discuss a possible $2 billion loan.

Meanwhile, Russian news agency Novosti quoted earlier on Friday Alexander Novak, Russia's energy minister, stating Egypt had suggested collaborating with Moscow for constructing a nuclear power plant.

President Morsi arrived to Russia on Thursday on a two-day trip, which marks 70 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

It was earlier reported that the Egyptian delegation may discuss financing needs and oil and wheat supplies during their visit to Russia.

Egypt's wheat stocks are likely to plunge below 1 million tonnes by 30 June as its economic crisis cripples purchases from the international market.

President Morsi was accompanied by a ministerial delegation, including Minister of Investment Osama Saleh, Minister of Petroleum Osama Kamal, Minister of Agriculture Salah Abdel Moemen, and Minister of Electricity and Energy Ahmed Imam.

During his meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, the Egyptian President affirmed that post-revolution Egypt and Egyptians appreciate the history of strong ties between the two countries, and the contribution Russia has made to Egypt’s agriculture, industry, and military.

"The issue isn't only about an increase in trade exchange or number of tourists... I am speaking of a true alliance in economic fields that shall establish a true industrial renaissance to realise enormous developments in Egypt," said President Morsi.

A strong alliance was formed between Egypt and the USSR during the ruling of late president Gamal Abdel-Nasser. The alliance has aided Egypt in several fields; the highlight of it was the help of the Russians in building and funding the High Dam in South Egypt.

According to state-owned news agency MENA, Voice of Russia Radio has also quoted President Putin stating, during his meeting with President Morsi, that the number of Russian tourists in Egypt had increased by 30 percent in spite of unrest in Egypt since the 2011 revolution.

The number of Russian tourists visiting Egypt in 2010 alone was estimated to be 2,855,723, accounting for 25,037,045 tourist nights, making it the number one country in providing Egypt with tourists.

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